Fair Trade goes to the University of Bristol
Ellen McKee is a postgraduate student interning with the University of Bristol Sustainability Department. The team is working towards embedding sustainability within everything the University does, from sustainable food procurement to carbon emission reductions.
At this year’s South West Fair Trade Business Awards, the University of Bristol won three silver awards. These awards were for: Best Fair Trade University or College, Best Fair Trade Café or Restaurant and Best Fair Trade Accommodation or Conference Centre. At the University, we continually strive to promote socially and environmentally sustainable food across the hospitality and catering services, and are committed to supporting sustainable and equitable supply chains.
2019 saw Fairtrade Fortnight take place between 25th February and 10th March, presenting a great opportunity to raise awareness about the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘She Deserves’ campaign. The campaign centres on achieving a living income for cocoa farmers –particularly female farmers – in West Africa. Cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire typically live on 74p a day, with the reality being they need to earn £1.86 a day to have a living income. Here at the University, we raised awareness among students, staff and members of the public regarding the hugely inequitable cocoa supply chains that still exist. We aimed to show that by choosing Fair Trade products, our individual consumer choices can combine to change people’s lives across the world. The University has made it easier to choose Fair Trade, as all our catering providers and premises offer fruit, juice, tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate and wine as Fair Trade only.
During Fairtrade Fortnight, the Sustainability Department, with the help of student volunteers, spearheaded the ‘She Deserves’ campaign on campus. Two pop-up stalls were hosted in the centre of campus, engaging 150 people. We were also fortunate to receive free samples from Percol Coffee, Divine Chocolate, Just Trading Scotland, Tropical Wholefoods, Liberation Nuts and Fruit Beauties! These delicious samples were used to create two hampers, which two lucky winners won at the end of the fortnight. To roundup the fortnight, a film night was hosted in partnership with the Students’ Union. The film ‘Ratatouille’ was shown (a tenuous link with Fair Trade, but everyone loves ‘Ratatouille’!) whilst attendees enjoyed Fair Trade banana cake and chocolate cookies!
The University of Bristol doesn’t just look at Fair Trade certified products. The ever-changing nature and complexity of food procurement and supply chains means that we must have a broad and holistic approach when deciding what food to buy and provide. For example, the University’s hospitality and catering teams work to support local producers and look at a whole range of sustainability indicators from air miles to packaging.
As a result of the University’s work to promote both socially and environmentally sustainable food we have become a ‘Going for Gold Food Champion’ and a key partner in Bristol’s campaign to become a Gold Sustainable Food City. Through the Going for Gold website, we can record the positive steps we’re taking in terms of Fair Trade, local procurement, and a whole host of other good food actions.
One of the six key action areas in the Going for Gold campaign is promoting ‘Food Equality’; it presents a great way of recording all the amazing work being undertaken across Bristol to promote Fair Trade. The Sustainability Department welcome any staff or students who would like to get involved in helping Bristol achieve the Sustainable Food Cities Gold Award to contribute to the University’s collective actions (get in touch to find out how on firstname.lastname@example.org.). Or you can register as an individual – why not make buying Fair Trade from one of the University’s outlets one of your first actions?
There are several Fair Trade actions you can take both as an individual or an organisation in support of Bristol’s Going for Gold bid. Recording your actions is a great way to support Bristol Fair Trade’s Fair and Local campaign, whilst bringing Bristol one step closing to being a Gold Sustainable Food City.